Happy Pride! This month, you’ll be seeing the rainbow flag everywhere you look. Created by activist Gilbert Baker, the flag is symbolic of solidarity, power, community and queer culture. But did you know Baker also assigned each colorful stripe of the rainbow a meaning? Join us as we chat with LGBTQ+ folks in our own Knix community, all while marching through all the colors! Check out Red here.
Next up is Orange. Orange symbolizes healing, so we sat down with stylist Dāsha Guyton of @WindyCityWardrobe to talk about self-love, body positivity and how it allllll intersects with Pride.
How are you celebrating Pride this month?
I kicked off Pride with the LGBTQ edition of Strip Joker at the Steppenwolf. If you missed it, no worries, you can still catch this hilarious standup show at Mary's Attic. I'll also be attending a POSE watch party and the Pride South Side Festival.
How do you celebrate all year round?
I spend quality time with my local chosen family as often as possible and collaborate with Queer creatives in photography, design, and event planning.
As a stylist, I have to ask: What’s your Pride look this year?
My first Pride look of the month involved a tribal print mix swimsuit and rainbow beach chairs. For more Pride outfit inspiration come hang out with me on Instagram @WindyCityWardrobe
What inspired you to start your blog, Windy City Wardrobe?
Five years ago, my wife and I left everything and everyone we ever knew in Oklahoma and moved to Chicago. To keep some sense of normalcy in a new city, I started my days with coffee and breakfast at Starbucks but the barista’s refused to take my order before getting answers to their questions about my hair, clothes, and makeup. Since I’m a but first coffee kind of girl, Windy City Wardrobe was created as a solution to this problem. Now I’m able to hand people a business card instead of having my coffee held hostage. What started as an outfit of the day blog, quickly grew into a styling business as well as a platform for body positivity and self-love.
There are tons of people you can go to for wardrobe styling, but they don’t have my background in self-love and body positivity. Most stylists work with brands that only hire sample size models so they lack empathy and experience dressing larger bodies. I’m known for helping people with special events and transitions in life that require a new wardrobe.
Body positivity is a focus on all your platforms, can you speak to how Pride intersects with that?
Body positivity intersects with pride in the sense of pride being an affirmation of all that you uniquely are. We're all learning to love our body but this struggle comes with extra layers within the LGBTQ community. Once you've explored your sexuality and accept who you are, you feel the need to show the world who you are without having to speak.
Unfortunately, who you are doesn't always align with how your family sees you. But there's power in disregarding what family and mainstream media say you should look like and act like. Coming out forces you to decide how and if you'll express gender and orientation through clothes— and after doing all that grueling work you have a lot to be proud of.
What are your hopes for the fashion industry in terms of representation?
I hope to see more diversity rather than tokenism. I don't think this can happen organically until companies focus on being inclusive in their hiring practices from the top down. If you have a staff that's reflective of the community they will speak up at meetings and casting calls. Things are getting better but certainly not fast enough because I still show up for shoots and I'm the only black, brown, or fat person. Keeping my fingers crossed for more LGBTQ representation, people covered in tattoos, using assistive devices, breastfeeding their babies, etc. I would just love to see people captured in real life situations using branded products.
Finally, if could style one drag queen, who would you pick?
Without a doubt Miss Vanessa Vanjie Mateo! She's got the moves, her face is beat and she has personality for days, but you can't snatch the crown without a fierce wardrobe and Mama Ru isn't here for the bodysuits.
Thanks Dāsha! Check back throughout June to meet other Proud members of the Knix community.